The Benefits and Impact of Digital Twins in Product Development Phase of PLM

  • Ilkka DonoghueEmail author
  • Lea Hannola
  • Jorma Papinniemi
  • Aki Mikkola
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 540)


The concept of the Digital Twins offers opportunities for business-to-business (B2B) manufacturing companies to co-create and maintain Product-Service-Systems. This facilitates closer relationship with customers over the lifespan of the delivered solution. However, the definition of the Digital Twin is not yet established in the companies that took part in this research that forms the basis to understand the relationship between the Digital Twins and Product-Service-Systems.

The objective of this paper is to define the concepts of Digital Twin and real-time simulation, and increase understanding of the benefits and impacts that B2B companies face when applying real-time simulation, and understand where the transformation should start in Product Lifecycle Management. The case companies that participated in this research are mobile work machine manufactures, but the findings are applicable to other B2B manufacturing companies which have complex solution deliveries that are managed over the lifecycle.

Results of this study show that B2B manufacturing companies are using real-time simulation to create digital twins of their real-world solutions. The companies participating in the research project create functioning digital twins but managing them is tedious and not integrated to the Product Lifecycle Management operations. First, only applying this to product development is not enough, but the management must cover the entire lifecycle of the product from Beginning (BOL), Middle (MOL) and End-of-Lifecycle (EOL). Second, the need to rethink the approach to product development and management is a key for success. Otherwise, the result is a virtual representation of the real world that is impossible to maintain at industrial level.


Digital twin Real-time simulation Product Lifecycle Management PLM Product-service system Digital Mock-Up 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilkka Donoghue
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lea Hannola
    • 1
  • Jorma Papinniemi
    • 1
  • Aki Mikkola
    • 2
  1. 1.Industrial Engineering and ManagementLappeenranta University of TechnologyLappeenrantaFinland
  2. 2.Mechanical EngineeringLappeenranta University of TechnologyLappeenrantaFinland

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